SEAS OF CHANGE
Let’s start with the fact that I love change. I love all aspects of change. It means that you are about to experience something new. Possibly learn something about yourself. Possibly find yourself in some far off land. Maybe discover something new about yourself or the world around you. Regardless of what the catalyst is, change provides us all with an opportunity to make a choice if you are willing to open yourself to it.
The reasons for avoiding the “discomfort” associated with change vary from person to person. Personally, the discomfort I tend to avoid is emotional changes. So, what exactly do I mean when I say emotional change? These are events that impact me on a deeply emotional level. As a very empathic person, my emotions reside much closer to the surface. I feel intensely, this is a blessing. I feel intensely, this is also a challenge. Let’s just say I need to pay particularly close attention to when my feelings begin to take over during times of change. This is when my judgment and decision-making skills tend to suffer. Over time, I have discovered and developed ways to reign in my emotions and ego. I have used the following techniques to help me navigate the emotional seas of change.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR TRIGGERS
It is important to be mindful of your behavior and potential patterns associated with your current coping mechanisms. From my experience, it usually starts with a trigger. That acute moment in time that unexpectedly tosses you outside your comfort zone. You know the moments that leave you feeling raw, exposed and/or unprepared to deal with the situation. For me, when I notice myself becoming short with people or impatient, I try to recognize that my emotional train is about to leave the tracks.
A friend and I were discussing how our triggers affect us and how we both have begun to just ask ourselves questions regarding our triggers. This is how we address our triggers. First, we try to notice a change in behavior, for example, irritability and easily frustrated. Maybe ask what is currently irritating or frustrating you? Once the answer to that question is answered, then it might be time to ask whether or not you have any control over the situation or not. I would then continue to ask more questions until I found the root cause. I then reflect on how this trigger affected me and how I could approach the situation differently in the future. I can already hear people saying well maybe that works for you, but that wouldn’t work for me. That is true it might not, I am not professing it would work for you. I am, however, going to ask you, have you ever tried? Have you ever taken the time to try and discover a root cause of a trigger? It just might be worth investigating.
I would encourage anyone to become more familiar with themselves and how to handle the changes in their lives. It is one thing to recognize a trigger, but it is quite another to do something about it. For me, it is all about asking questions. Sometimes these questions are difficult to ask and even more difficult to answer. You have to be honest with yourself and be honest with your answers. By being honest with yourself, you will begin to build a stronger connection to who you are and what you are about.
“SOMETIMES IN THE WAVES OF CHANGE
WE FIND OUR TRUE DIRECTION”
– Unknown –
ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THE DECISION
If you are like the vast majority and have difficulty working through change, please read on. Decision-making is a part of everyone’s life. Every single day we are presented with decisions upon decisions. If you are like me, I kind of get overwhelmed with the amount of decisions and choices we have. I get excited yet find myself somewhat reluctant to decide. What choice would be right? What if I chose the wrong path? Our internal self-questioning can seem like the Spanish Inquisition. We talk ourselves out of even making a decision. Isn’t that bizarre? We are given the opportunity to move our lives in whatever direction we choose, but many of us would rather have someone else make the decision for us. That way we don’t have to take ownership and can blame others for our misfortune. The choice of not choosing leads back to owning a decision. If you let someone else make the decision for you, you have given someone temporary ownership of your life. Would you lease your life like you lease a car?
The question is whether or not you will choose to make the decision. Take ownership and stand by your decision. Improving your decision-making skills can only be done by exercising your decision-making skills. When you find yourself avoiding a decision, ask yourself, “Why am I trying to avoid this? How is the thought of this decision-making me feel? What can I do to move through this? What decision needs to be made?”
Once you are able to RECOGNIZE what you are trying to avoid, it is time to make a choice and work towards that decision. Does this mean that’s it, everything will work out just fine, no, it just means that you have decided to decide. You have put yourself in the game and want to actively participate in your life. It is important to know that even if your decision didn’t work out the way you wanted. You always have the opportunity to make another decision.
“THE TIDES OF CHANGE HAVE
GREAT PURPOSE IN OUR LIVES”
– Bryant McGill –
STOP SETTLING AND PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE
In the aftermath of a sudden or unexpected change, we can begin experiencing more subtle changes. I like to think of this period of time as the magic window. This is when we are vulnerable. I say that in the kindest most supportive way. For me, it’s all about putting yourself in a position to succeed and build a fulfilling life. A decision that will lead to another choice and another decision. Now, back to being vulnerable and all the amazing possibilities open up when you discover that being vulnerable is essential for making a change. This is the time in which we can embrace a new way of thinking. Introducing a new idea or concept. Begin incorporating and embracing new elements into your life. I believe when we are vulnerable we are more open to all that life has to offer. The challenge is becoming comfortable showing our soft underbelly and exposing ourselves to the possibility of being “hurt.” This fear of pain will attempt to keep us from doing the very thing that would probably help set us free. We are so concerned about the scary future that may reside on the other side of the door, we choose to leave the door closed. Essentially, what we are doing is choosing to trade possibility for certainty. Even if the possibilities could be wonderful and amazing, we settle on the status quo and what we know, even if it isn’t the life we want.
By choosing to remain in our comfort zone we rob ourselves of the life’s possibilities. We learn by actions not theories. You must be willing to get out of your comfort zone and start pushing yourself. What does it mean to push yourself? Put yourself into situations you would normally avoid. This could be public speaking, talking to strangers, starting a workout regiment, learning to play an instrument. The choice is up to you. Only you know what makes you uncomfortable. Only you know what some of your limiting beliefs might be.
When I went through my divorce, I felt lost. I felt out of control and most of all I felt like I was out of touch with myself. That may sound odd, but during that period of my life, I didn’t have a clue as to who I was and what I was all about. At the time I just needed to re-connect. I discovered yoga and my life changed. Now, am I telling everyone to run out and start yoga, well I am and I am not? Yes, because I love yoga and how connected I feel to myself before, during and after. But I am also saying no because this is your journey. You need to discover “your yoga” or some other activity that will move you to take further actions. I was terrified the first time I walked into the yoga studio. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was about to make a fool of myself and never come back again. I had talked about going. I had wanted to go. I had made up plenty of excuses to go. So, what changed? How did I find myself in a yoga class? Not in the metaphorical state, but the standing in a room of yogis and yoginis wondering how the hell it all happened. The simplest way to say it is, I got my ass off the couch, went and signed up. Done.
If you are waiting for the right time to start. If you want to feel more ready or feel like you are more prepared, I will let you in on a little secret. The time will never be right. You will never feel ready or prepared. The only way to get out there is to make yourself get out there.
Change is not always easy and in fact can be downright terrifying. I have been down the overwhelmed road. I walked for hours on the treadmill of uncertainty in my brain. I have also felt the pride associated with overcoming my feelings of being overwhelmed. I have empowered myself by stepping off the treadmill and chose to step outside of my comfort zone and discover a world of possibilities.
Know that you can always make a decision – a choice to change the course of your life. Choose not to settle. You have the responsibility to live a fulfilled life. Put yourself out there. See what happens!
As I close out my blog post I would like to continue my tradition of signing off with a song. This one I would like to dedicate to my mom.
Are you in your late 30's or 40's and thinking back on how exactly you wound up in the career you are in today? Chances are if you are like me, you took the safe path. You were told to get a job with benefits, a retirement plan and not rock the boat. Work your way up. Move up the corporate ladder. Just work hard and when you are done, retire.
Yup, you played it safe and now, you are questioning what you are doing and where you are going?
Let me ask you, do you remember when you were excited about life's possibilities? When you believed you could do anything. Do you ever wonder what happened? When did you lose touch with your passion? Have you given up on your hopes and dreams? Or, have they simply gone astray.
Sign up to for the Stop the Pity Party. Restart Your Passion 7 Day Change Challenge and begin to rekindle your passion. Reclaim your beliefs to create the life you have the responsibility to live. A life of fulfillment, possibility, wonder, and passion.